Lady Bears advance to Elite Eight

Junior forward Nina Davis pulls up for a layup against Florida State on Saturday at the American Airlines Center. Davis finished with 30 points. Photo credit: Sarah Pyo

DALLAS – Unlike all of the Sweet 16 action in the NCAA women’s bracket on Friday, which had all four higher-seed teams lose, the No. 1 seed Lady Bears posted a convincing win over No. 5 seed Florida, 78-58 on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Junior guard opened the game with 11 points through two the first two quarter. But it wasn’t Jones who posted had the MVP performance.

As much as Baylor has exploited their usual size advantage over opposing teams, it was Davis, a 5-foot-11 forward, that broke the backs of the Seminoles. Junior forward Nina Davis broke out in the second half. Davis finished with 30 points, her second-straight game reaching that mark.

“Nina is a clutch player,” said sophomore guard Kristy Wallace. “When it comes to clutch moments, she’ll produce. We can rely on her especially in these situations.”

Davis’ stellar performance in the paint was much needed for Baylor as its two best post players, freshmen Kalani Brown and Beatrice Mompremiere, had to sit out for most of the game with foul trouble.

In addition to Davis’ outstanding job on offense, junior post Khadijiah Cave finished with a team-leading three blocks and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes played.

Before Davis took matters into her own hands, Florida State forced a timeout from head coach Kim Mulkey midway through the first quarter. The Seminoles led 12-9 over the Lady Bears after a series of uncharacteristic turnovers and timely baskets for Florida State.

After the timeout, Baylor finished the first quarter on a 15-3 run and never gave up the lead for the rest of the game. Florida State’s cut the deficit to eight points toward the end of the third quarter, but the Lady Bears separated again with a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

“It’s a team effort, everybody has to focus and be on board,” said senior guard Niya Johnson. “We have to go out there and execute plays like we did today. Teams are going to get their momentum, but you just have to weather the storm.”

The Lady Bears will face the winner between No. 6 seed DePaul and No. 2 seed Oregon State. Baylor’s Elite Eight matchup will be on Monday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas and will be broadcast live on Baylor Lariat Sports radio.

“We’ve been here before,” Wallace said. “We know what it’s like. Our motto this year was ‘eight is not enough.’ Our goal is to get through this round and see what happens from here.”